Election Day was a month ago, but the winners of many races are still being decided, and not just by recounts or runoff elections such as Saturday’s Senate runoff in Louisiana. There are a handful of elections across the country that ended in a tie, in which the winner has been decided by drawing lots, flipping coins or other games of chance. With hundreds of seats in Congress, thousands of seats in state legislatures, and tens of thousands of mayor, city council, county judge and local dog catcher elections being regularly held, it’s almost certain that each year some will end up tied. But because tied elections are so rare for any given office, most state and local election boards do not lay out guidelines for resolving them. In many states, the law indicates that ties should be broken by a “game of chance,” but details are rarely specified. This can create interesting tiebreakers.
On Tuesday night, a tied election for a City Council seat in Mount Dora, Florida, was resolved when Marie Rich’s name was pulled from a felt-top hat on a red-velvet-covered table. Rich had received 2,349 votes in the Nov. 4 election, the exact same number as incumbent Nick Girone. Because the city’s charter did not lay out a process for breaking ties, the council voted to resolve the matter by drawing lots rather than spending as much as $15,000 on another election.
Last month, two candidates each received 246 votes for the 1st District commissioner in Cook County, Minnesota. It was originally suggested that the candidates draw from a bag with two Scrabble tiles, and the person who picked the “Z” would become commissioner. Ultimately, the race was instead decided by drawing wooden blocks from a cloth bag. Frank Moe drew the red block; Kristin DeArruda Wharton drew the blue one. Moe won the seat.
Full Article: The 2014 Elections That Ended In A Tie | FiveThirtyEight.